Efe temporarily suspends operations in Russia
Madrid, Mar 5 (EFE).- Spanish news agency Efe said on Saturday it was temporarily suspending its journalists’ work in Russia in response to a law that mandates up to 15 years in jail for intentionally spreading “fake” news about the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
Efe joined other media outlets, including the BBC, CNN, CBS and Bloomberg, which have temporarily ceased their reporting from Russia, while they continue to report on the conflict from Ukraine from other countries.
The new law threatens journalists with heavy fines and between 5 and 5 years in jail for the dissemination of information that the Russian authorities consider false about Ukraine.
It also punishes calls for sanctions against the country as well as for the “public actions” that seek to discredit the actions of the Russian Army in Ukraine.
The Russian authorities blocked Facebook and Twitter on Friday in response to the European Union’s veto of official Russian media Russia Today and Sputnik, which the EU accuses of being part of Russia’s war machine.
Russian authorities have also blocked access to Western media outlets, such as BBC and Germany’s Deutsche Welle, and have shut down several independent national news outlets.
The president of Efe Agency, Gabriela Cañas, said: “The Efe Agency deeply regrets this very serious attack on freedom of expression; an evident attempt by the Kremlin to hide the truth to public opinion.”
This is the first time since opening a permanent office in Moscow in 1970 that Efe suspends the activity of its accredited journalists in the Russian capital.
Italian public TV RAI also announced Saturday it was suspending its reporters’ work in Russia.
“Following the approval of the legislation that gives heavy prison sentences for the publication of news considered false by the authorities, as of today RAI suspends the journalistic services of its correspondents from the Russian Federation,” it said in a statement. EFE